An ode to John R. Tunis

My wife says everything I write is a love letter. This one is, I guess. John R. Tunis was prolific in his time, but hardly gets a mention today. He wrote essays and articles on many topics, but usually he wrote about sports, especially his novels. When I was in fifth grade, I read His Enemy, His Friend and it was my favorite book for years. It’s about soccer, but not really. It’s about unlikely friendship and torn families and loyalty–both earned and misplaced–and, mostly, about grief. It’s the first book that made me cry. I recently came across a memory of Tunis’s about his beginnings as a writer and it struck me: he didn’t know he had talent. At a time in my life when I doubt why I ever picked up a pen in the first place, his life’s work still gives me hope.tunis.jpg

“Here is Much Water”

I haven’t done any visual poetry lately, so to correct that, here’s a new one. Why? Because it’s the beginning of the semester and I should be prepping classes. This is avoidance behavior. Seriously, this is for my father, who has been dead coming on fifteen years now, and because I’ve been gone from Wisconsin for nearly as long.

JohnWaterPoem

 

“Oscar and Kurt in Reading, England”

Today would have been Kurt Cobain’s 49th birthday. In the last few months, I’ve watched Nirvana’s performance of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” at Reading in 1992 dozens of times. (I call it research.)  If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth your time.

This is my small thank you.

Oscar and Kurt in Reading, England

“William Blake Visits La Discotheque”

William Blake VisitsWhoa, so it’s been a long while since I updated my site and y’all can tell I’m terrible at upkeep. (My Twitter account has gathered even more dust.) I won’t bore you with the blow-by-blow since last fall, but it wasn’t all drinking bourbon and dancing with my kid (not simultaneous activities, btw). I had the good fortune to have a poem, “Acid is an Anagram” appear in the journal Forklift, Ohio, one of my favorite lit mags. Do check them out; Forklift is always a work of art. Also, my poem, “Crazeology,” which appeared in the museum of americana, was nominated for a Best of the Net citation (thank you, MoA!). We’ll see how that pans out. Lastly, I put the finishing touches on a long biographical/bibliographical essay on the novelist Wilton Barnhardt. If you haven’t read him, you’re missing out, especially his latest, Lookaway, Lookaway.

About the new poem: a few years back I published a piece called “Listening to New Vinyl” with Pif. I was surprised by the persona and even more surprised when she came back last night. So, instead of grading, I’ve been writing and playing with markers. Hope you enjoy it.